By Siddarth Sharma, UBA Columnist
Chennai, 24th February, 2017: Bengaluru Beasts put up a determined performance to defeat a surging Hyderabad Sky 104-94. They came in with a 0-3 record, teetering on the brink of elimination as they had yet to win a single game in the UBA Season 4. They were coming up against Hyderabad Sky (2-1), who had firmly established themselves as the crowd favourites behind the charismatic Tevin Kelly.
Haryana Sky started off with a lineup of Mahesh Padmanabhan, Tevin Kelly, Mak Boskailo, Parveen Kumar and Manu Thomas. Bengaluru Beast came out with a starting lineup of Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Palpreet Brar, Visu Palani, Manprit and Paratham Singh.
Mahesh hit his first jumper after creating space with a crossover. Vishesh answered with a strong drive inside. Mahesh seemed to have carried over his scorching form from his previous match as he swished in a long jumper from the corner. Vishesh seemed determined to get to the rim at every opportunity as he scored on another layup. Palpreet added two with a powerful move inside. Hyderabad found themselves leading 8-6 with six minutes left in the first quarter. Bengaluru’s game plan seemed to be to get to the rim on every possession as all of their early conversions came from up close. Mak Boskailo and Manu Thomas got two quick dunks in the final minute of the first quarter as they pushed Hyderabad’s lead to 21-16 at the end of the quarter.
Hyderabad pushed their lead to 26-18 in the opening minute of the second quarter. Hyderabad added three three-pointers from Mahesh, Mak and Joginder to push their lead to 32-22. Bengaluru were ice cold from downtown, having missed all ten of their first attempts until Visu Palani made their first with an assist off Vishesh as the latter willed Bengaluru back from double digit deficit. Vishesh dropped 16 points in the first half along with 3 rebounds and 3 assists to lead Bengaluru while they shot a paltry 1-12 from downtown in the first half. Hyderabad had built a 39-24 lead at one point before Bengaluru were led charging back by Vishesh to close the first half at 47-40.
Vishesh started the third quarter by going coast to coast and assisting Solomon on a three pointer. Hyderabad responded with a pair of threes from Kelly and Joginder. Solomon added eight points in a hurry but Kelly responded with a three pointer of his own. Manu Thomas utilized his full reach in this one but he had to sit on the bench in the third as he picked up his fourth foul. Vishesh’s layup got Bengaluru within 66-65 with three minutes left in the third quarter. It seemed that everytime Bengaluru got close Hyderabad would go on a run to get a comfortable lead. Solomon added his fourth three of the third quarter. Vishesh Euro-stepped around Mak for yet another conversion inside as Bengaluru took a 72-71 lead.
Kelly ended the third quarter with a three pointer to give Hyderabad a 76-74 lead over Bengaluru to close the third quarter. Hyderabad had four players in double figures at this point while Bengaluru were led by the trio of Vishesh, Palpreet and Solomon as they had 64 of Bengaluru’s 74 points.
The fourth quarter started with Vishesh attacking the rim with fury to help give Bengaluru an 84-78 lead with 7 minutes left in the game. Mak hit a long two to bring Hyderabad within 90-82 with four minutes left and Kelly hit a three to reduce the lead to 90-85 as the game came down to the wire. Hyderabad put up a spirited comeback but Palpreet’s tip-in with 1:10 left put Bengaluru up 95-87. Vishesh assisted Solomon to increase their lead and Solomon got another two in transition to put Bengaluru up 100-89 as they pulled away to a 104-94 win for their first win of the season.
Players of the game: Chris Solomon (International), Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (Indian)
Bengaluru Beast (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 32 pts, Chris Solomon 31 pts, Palpreet Brar 27 pts) bt Hyderabad Sky 104-94 (Tevin Kelly 29 pts, Mak Boskailo 20 pts, Mahesh Padmanabhan 17 pts)